U8 to Travel transition: Frequently Asked Questions

U8 to Travel transition: Frequently Asked Questions

When is the registration deadline?
Registrations are due by July 1st; players should plan to participate in league tryouts which will be conducted in the evenings during that week.

What if we miss tryouts?
Coach evaluations are the most important aspect, so your child can likely still be placed on the most appropriate team, but tryouts are helpful to baseline players and ensure the best decisions.

How are teams formed?
Teams are formed by the U10 coordinator in consultation with the board and the coaches. The primary goal is to create competitively balanced teams that maximize the fun, development and participation of as many players in the league as possible. League experience and youth soccer expertise and research both suggest that teams with relatively equal playing ability are the optimal conditions for both fun and development. Nobody wants to lose all the time. Also, it does the kids no good to win easily all the time. Balance is the goal.

How many players on a side?
Like U8, U9/10 teams play 6 a side, with goalies, though on a larger field than what players are used to at Nunziato. Teams will be 10-12 players each, depending on league registration numbers and available coaches.

What’s with ALL the TRAVEL!?
There actually is not that much travel. Half the games of a 8 or 10 week season are played in Somerville, and the other half are played in nearby towns. After 4+ years of U8/7/6/5 soccer, it is exciting for most kids to have a chance to play other towns.

Is it hypercompetitive?
Somerville Youth Soccer is a recreational league with goals of teaching and having fun. Typically, playing on a successful teams is more fun than playing on an unsuccessful one, so from that standpoint competition is encouraged. On the other hand, the place for competition is on the field where the children are trying their hardest. Parents obviously get involved in rooting for outcomes, but should remember that the real goal is to have fun. Parents need this reminder occasionally; children, rarely if ever.

Why are there player evaluations?
Everyone who registers can play. The goal is to create balanced teams that are appropriate for the divisions we play in. Coaches are the most informed about their players’ abilities, and they make the primary evaluations. “Tryouts” are to baseline the coaches evaluations in order to make better comparisons across teams, as well as to ensure fairness.

What are the evaluation criteria?
The key criteria are soccer skills, effort, teamwork, receptivity to coaching and player trajectory (seasonal improvement). Overall, the players ability to positively impact a game situation is the fairest and most important criterion. Again, evaluators and coaches have been watching games all season, this will weigh much more heavily than “tryout” performance in June.

How many teams and divisions are there?
Somerville Youth Soccer plays in the Middlesex Youth Soccer League, which requires Somerville to field teams in each of 4 divisions for U10 (combined U9 and U10). Typically, there is a “top” team for each age group. The top U10 team plays Division 1, the top U9 team plays Division 2. The second team for each age group would typically play in Divisions 2&3, while other teams would play in Divisions 3&4. The intent is to sort the players by Division, but then balance the teams as equally as possible in the Division. For Fall ‘12 season, SYL expects to field 10-11 U9/10 boys teams.

Why can’t my child be on the same team as X?
The first priority is fair and balanced teams that will be fun for all kids involved. Other requests will be considered. Exceptional circumstances such as siblings or certain kinds of travel hardships will get a high priority; normal requests for friends/neighbors/carpool buddies/past teammates are also important, but by no means guaranteed. Evaluations are also hard; there is no guarantee that the league will be 100% correct in assessing ability, but we will try to run the fairest process we can run.

Will teams stay the same as our U8 teams?
No, with caveats. The priority is creating balanced teams and some remixing of long-standing teams is healthy at this point. At the same time, coaches generally prefer to keep working with the same kids, and families have built relationships over years of in-town soccer. Preserving these connections is valuable as long as it fits in with the overall priorities.

Do they stay the same season-to-season and year-to-year?
Typically teams are reassessed each year to measure improvement of kids and make sure that they are correctly leveled.

When will teams be announced?
In mid-late July.

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